The day is Wednesday, though they are calling it Wolfsday now. The wolf known only as Scribe sits at a desk, tapping the sheet of paper in front of him with a single digit of his paw. Despite what his name suggests, he is the liaison between the wolf leader and the US, and is a wolf of high notoriety. He read the transcript of my interview with one of his kin multiple times, and is meticulous about the details. Apparently he approved of my work, since he agreed to meet. It is important to note that he requested this interview, not the other way around. His accent suggests he was originally British.
When did the change take you?
That question has been asked hundreds of times now to hundreds of us.
And I’m asking you.
And I’m not answering. [There is a shuffling of fur as he adjusts himself]
Was it painful?
Very. Some didn’t survive the transformation. The old, anyone that wanted the change but didn’t understand what they were truly getting. Idiots who thought being a wolf was an escape to a peaceful life, a chance to be something inhuman, something better. Little better than cultists. [He scoffs]
But they found the magic that began the transformation.
Do you deserve a reward for discovering the sky is blue? No. It wasn’t magic, either. Oh, you’ll hear the transformation called all sorts of things. Mystical, magical, miraculous, demonic, even. Christians. [He grunts] But in the end it simply happened. Science and religion can sort that out on their own, and I’ll enjoy watching them burn over it for decades to come. [His laughter sounds like a rumbling growl, except it has the cadence of typical sarcasm]
Some of them survived though.
Not everyone in a mindless pack is mindless.
How did you become the Scribe?
By taking up the name and convincing everyone I was the only one capable of filling the role.
Who were you before the change?
A writer. Unknown, perhaps even not bad, though that sounds like a lie. A lover of the outdoors. That hasn’t changed.
Then why take a position that involves city living?
To do my part for the whole.
Have you always been such a team player?
No. Never, in fact. But this is a new life. It would be fitting to perform in the exact opposite ways, to shun the old life fully. Besides, I’m never gone from the outdoors long. There is a forest near my home, cliffs, and in the United States there are expansive parks to explore. Many of my kin are there, and we talk.
Do you discuss your old lives?
Absolutely not. No one wants to remember it, or bring attention to it in case what was done can be undone by the mere whisper of an alternate desire.
When did you become a wolf?
[He chuckles] All right, I’ll bite this time. Not literally, of course, don’t worry.
It was a year ago, though it feels like less. I was still in university at the time. Almost finished, finally. It was holiday, so I was home. There’s a large park nearby, a very iconic one as a matter of fact. Wandering into it was a normal occurrence. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, if it weren’t for the urge to run that seized me so violently that I charged, with a dumb smile on my face, straight in.
At some point I recognized the buzzing in my ears. It wasn’t the violent turn horror movies make it out to be. It was much more natural. One moment I’m using feet, the next hind legs and digitigrade paws. Of course, when I realized it had happened, I panicked. Sure, not being human was that secret desire I’d always harbored, or at least the curiosity of it, but I’m a misanthropic man. Fulfilled desires wasn’t something experienced often. But I didn’t question it—yet. I reveled in the change.
Going on a hunt was the proper thing to do next, wouldn’t you say? And it was the best sensation of my life, the first time looking at the world through a fresh pair of eyes, entirely different. Hearing the forest, little clicks and sounds kilometers away. Smelling entirely new scents, which created a strange new layer to the world around me. [He chuckles almost whimsically] It was the best of times.
And the worst of times?
Aren’t you a clever one. Yes, it soon was the worst of times. The world panicked and killed us off by the thousands at first, until we managed to negotiate a treaty with the UN. Leader came into power then and reminded the world that we were once human with his charisma.
When did he ask you to become Scribe?
Not for some time. Then he realized we needed a cultural identity, a person that knew words and the power they held. Becoming a wolf only improved my writing abilities, apparently. I’d been writing stories of our kind for half a year under the name of Scribe, and Leader simply asked that I keep it and become liaison.
Writing doesn’t equal political skill.
That may be, but a lot of the others wished to sever all ties with the life they knew. Ironically this was especially true for any and all politicians, public speakers, and the like. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to figure out which foot to place where, and I couldn’t shun the humans as easily as I expected. So here I am. [He displays himself]
Do others turn into wolves still?
Not since the initial turn, no. We’re not sure any ever will again. Which is too bad. I think there were some out there that wanted the change but were too afraid to seize it. Like you.
[He laughs loudly] I see the hunger in your eyes behind the disgust. You want a new life, free from human obligation. Don’t worry, your secret is exposed but not destroyed. You may contradict me now to uphold your integrity.
Ah, so there is some boldness in you. Now, at least. That’s something, I suppose. Is this obsession of yours why you go out of your way to interview my kin?
Get as close to the strange happenstance as you can, see if it rubs off on you? Well it won’t help. Neither will wandering through my forest alone.
Good, you aren’t surprised that I noticed. There’s intelligence in you yet. Some, at least. Did you think I couldn’t tell? That you were the first to want to change, to believe once that belief has yielded something substantial? No, belief isn’t the right comparison. To take up another identity because it offers freedom from your own, that’s more like it.
That’s all the transformation was. You aren’t the same person, you just delude yourself into thinking that.
[He growls, and it is terrifying] Careful.
You’d be a bad liaison if you killed a human during an interview.
Fair enough. [He returns to his relax posture with a grumble and smiles, exposing fangs] But I can offer you a way out. Not through death, don’t fear. You won’t be a wolf, but we can teach you our culture nonetheless. You’re provided for, fed, clothed, set free from all the mundane trappings of your current life. It’s been done for a few, rare humans that have proven interesting enough.
You mean they’re your pets.
Hmm, yes. I suppose they are.
Then you’ll excuse when me when I tell you to politely go to hell.
[He laughs] Very well. I hope this has been most enlightening for you.
Yes. Yes, it has. I thank you for showing me that you wolves aren’t any better than us, that you’re full of hate and cruelty and oppression like any other culture.
Were you really so naive as to think this wasn’t so?
This interview first appeared in the magazine Humans and Wolves.